US unlikely to dominate corn exports in the future

For years the United States has been the world’s king of corn exports. But Purdue University ag economist Phillip Abbot says – that could be changing. “The share of exports and total world imports used to be greater than 50 percent,” he says. “In fact, it is probably in the 30’s. The share is substantially lower now.”

He says one of the reasons the US could be losing share of the global corn market is because we are using more corn domestically.

Specifically, 38 percent of our corn crop is being used for ethanol – which is up from 10 percent just 5 years ago.  “That increase – the corn that is involved in that increase is more than we export and that had to be accommodated,” he says.  “We’ve tried to do that by increasing production and we haven’t been able to do that.  So far the way we’ve accommodated it is to keep feed use flat and to watch our exports shrink.”

In addition – countries that have previously relied on the US for corn are now growing more of their own and sourcing from other countries.

US corn exports were also hurt by the summer drought and going forward, Abbott says, the outlook for US corn exports are less positive than it was five years ago.

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